Return Pump Rundown: What You Need to Know

Today we are going to go over the different types of return pumps to help you choose the right pump for your aquarium.

Water pumps are the backbone of aquarium filtration. The tank is cleaned as the pump moves water through your filtration system. Pumps also help ensure proper gas exchange and healthy levels of dissolved oxygen.

When building an aquarium with a sump or using an all-in-one aquarium, you will often hear the term “return pump.” This refers to the main pump that returns water from the sump/filter back into your display tank. There are a wide variety of water pumps available to suit every aquarium application.

Pumps are generally grouped into two categories: submersible pumps (which means the entire pump is submersed in water) and external pumps (which means the pump is mounted outside of the water). Keep in mind that many pumps fall into both categories, so do not let this confuse you. More and more pumps are being sealed so that they are safe for both submersed and dry applications.

READ ACCOMPANYING BLOG POST (with full video transcript):





707YOUNGiN says:

Hey please help? I have a 1/2″ output on my return pump and I bought 12 feet of 1/2″ hose that I cant return back to the store, how could I possible connect the two? Pleasee helpp

Marine Depot Aquarium Supplies says:

Get the lowdown on submersible, external, DC controllable, magnetic drive and direct drive pumps in our latest video installment:

VB Nauticool says:

I have a 125g dual corner overflow tank and each corner is fitter with a drain and return. I have a Sicce Syncra 5.0 and I am wondering if I should T it off and send return flow to each corner or if I should send the pump to only one corner. Please advise. This is a freshwater african cichlid application.

Brandon Cooke says:

Thank you for providing an excellent overview. Your videos have always been very pertinent and concise.

Peter Derrick says:

Hi, great video, thanks for the posts…they are really appreciated.
I do think it might have been useful to show a typical head pressure graph as most people would be surprised at the reduction in flow at say 1.5m head height….especially with DC pumps!

aac Concrete says:

Can i run dc pump from a solar panel ?

Joel perez says:

why noy use a pool pump for a 500 gallon reef tank ? they come with plastic housing and stainless steel shaft. right?

Sparky Tuna says:

Great info, thanks Marine Depot 🙂 I love the vids, keep em coming 😉

Amin __ says:

Thanks! I am planing to buy a ecotech L1 for my sump and i need your advice please. i have my sump in a basement and my display tank in my main floor. the pump are supposed to feed 3 pipes(1/2″) in the basement for a UV, reactors and a refugium also 2 pipes(3/4″) to the display tank. my display tang is a 220 g tank. please let me know if the pump is able to cover all needs. BTW if it helps i can have two pumps and divide the basement needs and the tank needs.

Lisa King says:

I have tried to watch video and the picture portion is great but all I can hear is the background music, very disappointed maybe its because I’m using a Macbook Pro?

CrimsonTide001 says:

Good video, but it would be nice if you guys would go into the difference between the brands. Iwaki vs Pan World, is there a difference, etc…

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